Yes she can : examining the educational and career pathways of African American women in senior leadership positions in 4-year public universities
This qualitative study explored how African American women in senior leadership positions in 4-year public universities in the United States speak about the experiences and characteristics that have contributed to their academic achievements, career advancement, and success. This dissertation also examined how the intersection of race, gender, and class influenced the educational and career pathways of the nine Black women participants. Using the narrative inquiry method and intersectionality as a theoretical framework, I inductively identified themes within the story of participants' educational and career journeys and experiences. This study found that the high expectations of participants' parents served as an educational success imperative. Other themes that emerged illustrated that non-linear paths, and family-life balance and mentorship were all factors in the participants' journeys toward senior leadership. The Black women's transcendence of racial, gender, and class discrimination became the impetus for developing a leadership style that is focused on students' success. This study's ultimate goal is to use the participants' stories to provide hope and a blueprint for young African American women who aspire to be leaders in the academy or any professional field—to equip them with the tools that will enable them to say "yes, we can."